1887

Abstract

To study the evolutionary relationships among astroviruses, all available sequences for members of the family were collected. Phylogenetic analysis distinguished two deep-rooted groups: one comprising mammalian astroviruses, with ovine astrovirus being an outlier, and the other comprising avian astroviruses. All virus species as well as serotypes of human astroviruses represented individual lineages within the tree. All human viruses clustered together and separately from non-human viruses, which argue for their common evolutionary origin and against ongoing animal-to-human transmissions. The branching order of mammalian astroviruses was exactly the opposite of that of their host species, suggesting at least two cross-species transmissions involving pigs, cats and humans, possibly through intermediate hosts. Analysis of synonymous (Ds) versus non-synonymous (Da) distances revealed that negative selection is dominating in the evolution of astroviruses, with the Ds:Da ratios being up to 46 for the comparisons of the most closely related viruses. Phylogenetic analyses of all open reading frames (ORFs) based on Ds resulted in the loss of tree structures, with virus species – and in ORF2, even serotypes of human astroviruses – branching out from virtually a single node, suggesting their ancient separation. The strong selection against non-synonymous substitutions, the low number of which is, therefore, not proof of a recent separation between lineages, together with the position of the oldest available human astrovirus strain (1971) far from the common node of its serotype 4, suggest that intraserotype diversification originates from an earlier date.

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2002-06-01
2020-08-08
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